Said hello to the spirit of ol' 1956
It was pacing in the woods next to '57
Well the highway was my only friend
‘Cause I went by so quick
Suburban trees were out there
And consequently it smelt like heaven
So I say roadrunner once roadrunner twice
I'm in love with the modern world
So let's go out all night
With the radio on got the fm
Radio on got the power got the magic
Radio on 50,000 watts of power
Radio on going faster miles an hour
Radio on I feel like a roadrunner yeah!
To complete a trio of radio songs, the dial moves to one of the most beloved and supremely simple garage rock numbers of all time. Richman wrote it in 1970 when he was only 19, and with its two chords (D and A mainly, with a bit of E) and driving rhythm, is shows the influence of The Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray. Yet Richman’s song is more upbeat, not cynical as Lou Reed’s, and has a wonderful organ sound as well as RIchman’s distinctive delivery. It expresses the sheer joy of listening to the radio on the road. Former bandmate John Felice recalled that as teenagers he and Richman "used to get in the car and just drive up and down Route 128 and the Turnpike. We'd come up over a hill and he’d see the radio towers, the beacons flashing, and he would get almost teary-eyed. He'd see all this beauty in things where other people just wouldn’t see it.”
The song was released in 1972, produced by John Cale, but didn’t get a fuller release until the Modern Lovers’ debut album in 1976, after which there are have been different recorded version (‘Twice’ and “Three TImes’). It has also been covered variously by The Sex Pistols, Joan Jett, Wire and others, but none have bettered the original. Let’s turn it on and hit the road …
Want to suggest songs for Song of the Day or to say anything about it? Does this song make you think of something else? Then feel free to comment below, on the contact page, or on social media: Song Bar Twitter, Song Bar Facebook. Song Bar YouTube. Please subscribe, follow and share.
New to comment? It is quick and easy. You just need to login to Disqus once. All is explained in About/FAQs ...